Navy calls for industry help in data center consolidation

The Navy is looking for help from the private sector in its efforts to consolidate its data centers, according to a panel of experts at the Navy League’s Sea, Air, Space exposition on April 18.

Consolidation is necessary because the Navy “has lots of rice bowls”—lots of offices and departments that want to hang onto their data—said Janice Haith, the Navy's director of assessments and compliance. But the Navy also wants to become more efficient in how it manages its IT assets and looks to commercial firms such as Google as examples to emulate, she said.

There are 150 data centers currently in the Navy. It is a value proposition to get data to individual combat personnel without the need to support underused centers, Haith said. Another consideration is the Navy’s at-sea data capability. The service just awarded the CANES contract and one of the service’s requirements is for no latency in moving data between shore-based data centers and ships, she said.

What the Navy needs as part of its data center consolidation efforts is more bandwidth and processing power, said Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, chief of Naval Research and director of Test and Evaluation Technology Requirements. But these capabilities need to be coupled with data security and assurance systems, he added.

There are many commercial technologies that can be applied to the Navy’s needs, Klunder said. He noted that he recently met with industry representatives to discuss new technologies that the Navy could use. This is a “win-win” situation where industry expertise helps meet Navy needs, he said.

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